Dogs are a large part of what makes life happy. However, the plastic crates, or beds as my family calls them, aren’t so happy. Or pretty. Or functional…
I found some amazing plans through le Pinterest at Ana White’s blog. You can find the exact same plans, here! I used the plans to make one kennel, because after measuring and seeing the photo on her blog of two good-sized dogs in the finished product, I thought June would fit!
Boy… was I wrong, take a look for yourself:
Both HILARIOUS and a tad bit sad. Look at her giant sad face… So, I finished the crate anyway and sold it.
Then, my best friends from college bought an amazing house and were talking about purchasing dog crate end tables for their bedroom! However, after research, finished versions from a store can cost upwards of $400 a piece!! So, my housewarming gift to these sweet people was to make two of them!
Again, I followed the plans from Ana White’s blog to the letter! So, visit the link found above if you want to make your own. The directions are extremely easy to follow! I used basic white wood from Lowe’s, used two Aspen “craft panels” for the tops, basic L-brackets, basic black hinges, and a basic black sliding lock. I had the black paint, the clear coat, and the pocket hole screws. All-in-all, for two crates, the cost was $170 for BOTH crates!! MUCH better than around $800, right?!
Now, I have a tiny Honda… sometimes that means that transporting lumber for my projects can get… crowded! That is why I am so grateful for my local Lowe’s. I would never be able to load a full sheet of plywood in my car (named Admiral Alfred the Avenger, if you were wondering… because I knew you were……..haha!) They cut it down for me and I loaded it up and drove on back to the Burrow!
I unloaded the lumber and waited for a weekend day to make all the required cuts! Since I was making two crates, I just went ahead and cut all the lumber at once and doubled all the required pieces so I wouldn’t have to break out the saw twice.
This is what the frame pieces look like for two crates!!
Here is the link to the blog again with the instructions: Awesome Instructions Here!
Now, the only pretty boring part of this whole project was drilling the seemingly endless number of pocket holes used to put the whole thing together… I made myself comfortable, positioned the lumber over a trash can to catch the shavings and settled in for a lot of drilling!
Pocket Holes, using a trusty Kreg Jig, are the best way to put anything together. They’re hidden and they are way stronger than just throwing two screws into the side.
Here is a photo of my faithful sidekick keeping watch while I worked on the pocket holes!
I mean really.. look at her!! Oh, and that… is Admiral Alfred the Avenger : )
Once the holes are drilled, you can begin assembly! This part is kind of fun and kind of stressful. You have to make sure that every piece is not only flush sideways, but flush on the top and bottom, front and back, too. I have a wide-faced clamp that is very useful!
Once everything is assembled, you’ll have something that looks like this:
Okay, remember the plywood I mentioned in the beginning? That is what is used to cover the big squares in the crate frames. It gives the crates a really neat mission-style look. That is why I was drawn to Ana White’s design in the first place. I love simplicity and clean lines. This dog crate exemplifies those things!
I used normal wood glue and this AWESOME staple gun I received for my birthday to attach the plywood to the frames. The staple gun can use a bunch of different lengths of staples and different lengths of brads! It is such a cool little gadget.
As soon as the plywood was in place, I began to sand. And sand, and sand, and sand! If my friends’ dear doggos would be sleeping in these bad boys, they needed to be safe!
This is where you can correct any little errors that were made in putting the crates together. If a few little pieces weren’t perfectly flush, sand ’em down!! No one need ever know : )
After the pieces were sanded… it was finally too cold to continue working in the Burrow’s garage, so I moved to the basement. Still a bit cold, but definitely better!!! That is where the painting began. My friends asked for black, so black is what they got!
This part can be tedious as well, but now that debris and sand dust weren’t flying around, I put on some Netflix and actually found it very peaceful. I’ve always liked painting! I ordered a headboard from Wayfair on Black Friday and the packaging served as the perfect painting backdrop!
Again – I have a very small car. Very small… So, I decided to put these crates together using a bunch of L-brackets. This also was a decent idea if my friends ever decide to move, or decide they want to move the crates to another part of the house. It is way easier to just remove some L-brackets than to have to locate screws in the actual crates themselves. The crates were very sturdy with the brackets, as well. I tested them!
I did a test build (pardon the creepy 1929 basement, another project for another time):
Once both crates were built, I touched up any black paint spots that needed it and then I put on a heavy-duty clear coat! I like the look of the black hardware I found with the black paint!
When the clear coat had been drying for a couple of days, I went down to the basement and deconstructed the crates and loaded them up in Alfred the Avenger’s trunk!
This is what they look like deconstructed:
They were surprisingly easy to move and unload once I drove the couple hours to my friends’ beautiful home. And, since I’d already put them together, the screws found their places nicely and the crates went back together like a dream!
Here is one crate in its new home!
And here are two photos of the other:
I love working with my hands if it means making something for people, and pupsters, I love. This project had a lot of small details to it, but it was a blast! I couldn’t be more thankful to have these people in my life. I hope the crates serve them well!
Oh, and a bonus photo: These are the inhabitants of the crates!
The sweet girl on the left is Kesha, she gets a crate all to herself. The two boys in the middle (Opie) and on the right (Jeb) have been together their whole lives and are extremely bonded. They’ve been in the same crate forever and love being roomies. I hope they sleep well in their new beds!
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